Parenting Sucks: Breastfeeding and Stay-At-Home woes

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jkimes

Dear Joanne,

My husband works all day and I stay at home with our three year-old daughter. I hate to admit it but I’m having a hard time playing with her all day, and I severely miss my old friends and co-workers. I feel like I’m going crazy trying to keep sane. Is there something wrong with me or do other mothers feel the same way? I’m too ashamed to ask.

Anonymous Mom

Dear Anonymous Mom,

Let me fill you in on a little secret about parenting: kids are boring! There. I said it and it feels sooooo good! If you spend all day with a three year-old playing peek-a-boo and dress-up, you can expect to go out of your mind by sundown. Then, when your husband comes home from work exhausted and needing to decompress, you’ll turn to for him for desperately needed mental stimulation. You’ll get frustrated and he’ll tune out. Sound familiar?

That’s why you MUST carve out part of your day for yourself. Read a good book (that doesn’t involve proper parenting), meet a friend or old co-worker for lunch (and don’t talk about kids), or get a hobby (scrapbooking doesn’t count).  Also, don’t feel the need to always play with your daughter. Get her open ended toys that allow her to use her imagination (a doll, a play kitchen, puppets etc.), instead of ones like a puzzle where there’s a definite ending. Then leave her alone so she’ll learn to entertain herself.  You’ll be able to do more things for yourself and she won’t always need others around to be happy and won’t end up marrying the first guy she dates because she can’t cope with being alone for more than 35 seconds!

Dear Joanne,

When my son was born I loved breastfeeding, but now he’s almost two and shows no interest in stopping. I’m pretty much done with the whole thing but I don’t want to force him to stop nursing if he’s not ready. What should I do?

Colleen

Dear Colleen,

This is a very common problem. Most mothers would feel horribly guilty if they forced their babies to wean before they were ready. The problem is if a parent leaves the decision of when to stop nursing up to their kid, he may be so old that he’ll need to take out his retainer before he latches on. The truth is that if your child doesn’t wasn’t to stop nursing but you feel that it’s time, you get to cast the deciding vote.

Many mothers that choose to nurse may only do so for a few weeks or months before they decide to call it quits, and that’s okay. Whether it’s due to having to return to work, the need to take certain medications, or simply because it hurts too damn much, there are many reasons to throw in the burp cloth and call it a day. Just commit to your decision without guilt or wishy-washiness, and start weaning.

When you do, be sure to wean slowly so as to avoid breast clogs, mastitis or infection. You can either stop one feeding at a time for several days until your body adjusts, or lessen the amount of time you nurse at each feeding, and supplement with formula or cow’s milk (depending on your baby’s age). After you’re done weaning, you may be sad for a bit, but you can look forward to a lot more independence (and sadly, a lot more room in your bra as well)!

Joanne Kimes is the author of the bestselling “Sucks” series as well as “The Stay-at-Home Martyr.” Visit her at www.sucksandthecity.com

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Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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